Kids and parents show up in support of skateboard park

skateboard-supporters-1The Hearing Room at the Town House was as packed as I’ve ever seen it for the Board of Selectmen meeting last night, but it was anything but your typical crowd. The seats were filled mostly by teenagers and their parents, all of whom came to lend their support for a new skateboard park.

Recreation Director Doreen Ferguson told selectmen the kids “live, eat, and breathe” skateboarding. “They are disciplined and self-motivated. They’re practicing all the time, but they’re doing it in unsafe locations like the train station.”

Ferguson said a skateboard park would provide a safe environment for kids to practice their sport.

No public money
The proposal is to build the skateboard park at Choate Field at Woodward where an existing volleyball court now stands. The park would be funded through grants and private fundraising. No public money would be used to fund the project.

“No public money?” Selectman Sal Giorlandino asked. “That’s music to my ears.”

Ferguson estimated the total cost of the project to be somewhere in the $70,000 to $100,000 range. She said there are “thousands of grants” that cover building skateboard parks.

She acknowledged that there are other fundraising efforts going on in town, like the one for the new ladder truck. “With the economic climate, it may take us longer to raise the money, but we’re committed to it, the kids are committed to it.”

Maintenance and liability
Ferguson said she talked with officials in area towns that have skateboard parks about maintenance and liability issues. Other towns reported the primary maintenance issue was graffiti. Ferguson said that would be nothing new, noting that Southborough has had to deal with graffiti at other places like Finn School.

As for liability, the officials Ferguson talked to said they’ve had relatively few injury claims. Fergus estimates insurance would cost about $1,500 per year.

Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf asked if the skateboard park would be monitored. “It’s just like a basketball court,” one parent said. “There’s no supervision, it’s just part of the park.”

Laura Watkins, a parent of skateboarders, said that in this day and age, a skateboard park is “no different than a playground.”

What’s next?
The selectmen were generally in favor of the proposal and outlined some next steps for the group, including meeting with town counsel to make sure a skateboard park would be permitted under the deed to Choate Field, as well as meeting with the Conservation Commission and the School Committee. They also asked the group to further plans for an alternate site (Neary by the tennis courts) as a backup.

Once all that’s done, selectmen want to see a more detailed plan.

Watkins pointed out that youth in Southborough have been lobbying for a skateboard park for years. “I believe this is a really positive thing for our kids, and they deserve it.”

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John
13 years ago

I still find this venture a little concerning. My questions are: Does the Choate trust allow this and do we really want to absorb another liability?

smb
13 years ago

My vote is for the park, my kids don’t skate board but they do get a lot of use out of all the other sports facilities in Town, these kids have nowhere to go I see them on the street, the train station just to name a few places, let them use this fund, and let the non jocks have a great place to go.

Heather
13 years ago

This sounds like a great idea (on the surface) and it’s great these kids are so passionate about their sport.

However, these are tough economic times and both town and family budgets are stretched to the limit. It’s great that the group intends to use private funds to cover the inital building costs. But, is it really prudent for the town to take on additional annuitized maintenance costs in perpetuity?

I also agree with John that this park exposes the town to a tremendous amount of risk. What happens if a ramp is damaged from repetitive skating (a very likely scenario) and a child is injured as a result? It is then also very likely that a $1,500 yearly insurance premium (which, by the way, sounds very low) will skyrocket.

What are the line item maintenance costs for 1-5 and 5-10 years on skate parks in surrounding towns?

What are the insurance costs for each year before and after an injury at skate parks?

This one requires a bit more thought …

smb
13 years ago

Every thing is a what if, what if my car gets hit by a baseball going past Finn what if a baby gets hit on the head by a stray ball, ( I saw that happen) what if a child is riding their bike at Finn falls over and breaks an arm, there will always be what if’s. As for maintenance I am sure as most other fields and parks in the town the parents help out, they rake they work, they are proud of it, as I am sure these skaters would also be, given that opportunity, as we all say money is short once built this is a free activity, keeping our children outside, out of trouble, and we will know where they are.

Martha
13 years ago

I’m happy that this group of kids has a worthy cause in which to participate. The planning meetings, fund-raising and other duties associated with bringing this idea to fruition are all opportunities for these kids to take part in the democratic process.

Marty
13 years ago

I am on the fence with this idea and I would like to hear more information to include:
will the park be open and available 24 hrs a day
will it be lit at night
will the placement at Choate interfere with the softball right field
what about the trees/bushs behind the proposed park
what do the neighbors think

Hats off to the Recreation Department for thinking out of the box.

Lets all hope the Board of Selectmen, hereinafter referred to as the Board of Indecision, can actually support this without wasting everyone’s time for months! How in the world do the folks on the BOS ever order off a menu in a restaurant? It must take them hours just to reach a decision!

Mimi22
13 years ago

Marty, a good number of your questions were answered at the BOS meeting on Tuesday. Do you ever attend? It is easy to criticize the BOS from your home where you type criticisms to a blog on the internet. My impression is that the actual job of Selectmen, which requires many hours of volunteer time and, as your posts prove, very little thanks, is much harder than it looks. The very least we can offer is a bit of respect for what amounts to a thankless job. Your comment about ordering off a menu is a childish, personal attack, and is uncalled for.

John
13 years ago

Mimi22 seems to be critical of other opinions.

Mimi22
13 years ago

No, I am critical of inappropriate personal attacks. I am also critical of people who sit in their homes, never bother to attend meetings or offer one moment of their time to the town, and then feel justified in criticizing others with little or no accurate information.

John
13 years ago

I would still like to see accurate, published estimates for liability insurance. Other than maintenance, this could be a large cost.

Heather
13 years ago

Informed decision making is based on data.

This is the beginning of the process and hopefully our elected officials will take the time, follow procedure, and perform the “due diligence” on this proposal. Dialogue is important but specific cost data is also important and will help paint the full picture.

I’m not saying it’s not a good idea to have a skate park, in fact it’s a really great idea. However, I am advocating for full disclosure on ALL costs associated with the project. The BoS have a responsiblity to the tax payers of the town, to be fully informated before making a decision to spend our tax dollars, a very heavy burden indeed.

Also, remember not everyone has the flexibility to attend meetings. This blog, in many ways, has filled a void and become a trusted source for timely, accurate town information. Thanks for the great resource!

Sarah
13 years ago

As a Mom of a teenager who is obsessed with skateboarding in Northborough, I see these kids from Southborough having to be trekked all the way out to the skate park in this town. I think its a great idea that Southborough create a skate park. These skateboarding teenagers are wonderful kids who really need a place to have fun! They are in a tough time in their lives trying to find “something to do”. With this type of park, they will create friendships, sharpen their skateboarding skills and learn from the other kids how to do tricks they may never have learned (such as a tray flip?!?).. Kudos to the teenagers! Keep your voices loud on this cause–eventually the adults will listen! This is their passion–let them live it!

Heather
13 years ago

Uggg. I may want to change my poll answer because of the recent news of the death of a teen at a skate park.

The boy who died wasn’t wearing a helmet…I’ll try and find the link to the story.

Will Southborough require specific safety measures? helmets?

Heather
13 years ago

With the search “Skate park deaths”, Google provided two very recent articles:

http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20090624/NEWS01/906240325

http://www.wtnh.com/dpp/news/news_wtnh_plainfield_skateparkdeath_200905041645

(this is the one I heard about on the news this morning)

Bob
13 years ago

Will bmx bikers be able to ride at the skatepark. I think their should be a rule that you have to wear a helmet while at the park

Marty
13 years ago

Mimi,

I have listed below the questions I asked and despite your high opinion of yourself, they are valid questions. If they were answered at the BOS meeting, that’s great. Can you find ONE publication that provided the answers to the questions I posed. What’s wrong with the truth?

OMG – did ya notice that I even complimented the Recreation department? Maybe you think that’s part of some conspiracy?

Hey – maybe when the park is finished, you and I can meet there on opposing skateboards and finish this off once and for all. GGGrrrrrhhhhhh!!!!

Get off your high horse and SMILE!!!!!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I am on the fence with this idea and I would like to hear more information to include:
will the park be open and available 24 hrs a day
will it be lit at night
will the placement at Choate interfere with the softball right field
what about the trees/bushs behind the proposed park
what do the neighbors think

Hats off to the Recreation Department for thinking out of the box.

Mimi22
13 years ago

For the record, nothing I’ve written in my comments indicates how much I think of myself, only how little I think of your comments.

I never said your questions weren’t valid. I said that during the discussion at that particular BOS meeting, several of them were answered. AND I CAN direct you to a publication that provides the answers to several of your questions. Call the Town House and ask for the minutes of that particular BOS meeting. Minutes of BOS meetings are available to any resident upon request. Actually, they used to be available online but have not been available since the new web site went live.

And I would kindly ask you to refrain from your new childish behavior of calling me out for no reason like you did today in the “best places to live” post. Bad form.

marty
13 years ago

Mimi22,

Take a deep breath and step away from the ledge.
Smile. Go ahead. :)

Its OK. Really.

Mimi22
13 years ago

Marty,

You antogonize and then you patronize. Imagine my surprise!

I smile all the time, in fact I am smiling . . right. . now.

Mimi22
13 years ago

Marty,

You antagonize and then you patronize. Imagine my surprise!

I smile all the time, in fact I am smiling . . right. . now.

Marty
13 years ago

Mimi,

If I caused you to smile, then I have accomplished at least one good deed for this day. We’ll take it easy for a few days for the novelty to wear off.

The next task will be to work on your anger management. Didn’t Southborough’s recent visitor Adam Sandler have a movie about anger management? It might be a good one for your to rent. Perhaps our truly fine library has a copy. (The library should have been mentioned in the top town survey. What a gem!)

If we are unsuccessful in the anger management, we can always go back to plan B and have the duel at the new skateboard park.

;)

A great list from http://conisong.wordpress.com

Ten Reasons not to take yourself too seriously

The top 10 reasons to not take yourself too seriously, (in dyslexic order.)

* gives you frown lines and frown lines are unbecoming. (Smiling causes character lines. There now, that”s better.)

* is a lot of work. (Living should be an adventure, not a grind.)

* can give you an ulcer. (Acid reflux sucks too.)

* means you better be right every time. (The odds are simply against that notion.)

* you can’t laugh at the stupid things you do. (And you will do something stupid.)

* if you ever do laugh, you cannot snort and blow milk out your nose. (Dignified laughter is just wrong.)

= it’s not all about you anyway. (Just get over yourself and notice the good in some one else for a change.)

And the top reason is;* drumroll please*,

* NO ONE ELSE DOES.

You may have noticed that I did not number my reasons and I do not have 10. So, stop taking this so seriously. Why don’t you tell me another reason why we should not take ourselves so seriously?

Now, make it a great day! I mean it. Smile.

Now let’s all have a great day and be thankful for what we have!

Marty
13 years ago

There is a very interesting article in the 7/16 Boston Globe sport section about problems with vandalism, etc with Boston area skateboard parks.

It might be interesting reading for everyone whether they are in favor or opposed to a skateboard park in Southborough.

The article’s title is:

Trouble finds them
Graffiti, vandals close some skate parks, leave others with bad reps

The article can be found at this link:
http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/articles/2009/07/16/south_of_boston_some_skateboarders_shut_out_as_vandalism_graffiti_plague_parks/

Karen
13 years ago

I think a skate park would be great, Northborough’s has been a great success BUT not at Choate Field!!

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